The Role of a Principal Designer at Airbnb
Founded in 2008 Airbnb has changed the way we experience buildings and cities, by allowing people to experience real-world experiences, and in turn give the feeling of home wherever you are maybe.
This article provides an overview the views of Airbnb principal designer, Rachael Harvey, about interior design and the future of the workplace.
Rachael is a Principal Designer of Airbnb Environments. This division was launched in 2014 and has the main focusing of creating the look and feel for Airbnb office spaces.
Interest in Architecture
When asked about where her interest in architecture originated from, Rachel replied by saying ‘For me, it started with interior design, while I was at a different college with a declared major in Cultural Anthropology (always fascinated by how culture, space and people interact and influence the other). I found myself procrastinating by drawing space plans of the house I had just moved into. That was an ‘ah-ha’ moment, but it was built on top of many other factors, such as growing up the only child of two designers, and cutting holes in walls of our Victorian house with my mother to build secret hiding places’.
Rachel was asked about major trends she is seeing in the shaping of offices and workspaces and replied by saying ‘I’m seeing the convergence of hospitality design in the workspace (and multifamily housing!). We see that in the furniture and proliferation of lounge spaces. But also, there’s a more nuanced dialogue between how ‘self-service’ items like coffee or supplies show up in both space types’. She followed up by stating ‘I’ve noticed the maturation of what it means to have an open office. As often with ideas there is the early simple/pure version of an idea and then the process of refinement. At Airbnb, we approach workspace as something that an individual moves through, and we provide a spectrum of spaces to suit. For example, we designed a coffee table to make our lounges work-friendly; the table has a sturdy foot ledge which creates a comfortable perch for laptop use and of course power integrated into the core’.
Rachel was asked how changes to key factors such as climate, technology and construction techniques can impact architects and designers, and how people in the profession will need to adapt to these challenges. ‘Placing value in creating pleasurable spaces that reward the occupants just for being there and finding ways to collaborate with operations — whomever is responsible for the day-to-day of the space. The ‘box’ is important, but it is about what it feels like to be there, not just what it looks like’.
Your Principal Design Partners
Alan Wood & Partners carries out the role of Principal Designer for office rebuilds and adaptations, as well as multi-million pound commercial developments.
Clients have a legal duty on most construction projects to appoint a Principal Designer. Our role as Principal Designer is to make sure that the Regulations affecting us and other designers are satisfied. We have a number of staff who are able to demonstrate capability and competence through being Registered Members of the Association for Project Safety.
We also provide CDM advisory services to clients, Principal Designers and other designers so as to enable them to fulfil their obligations under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015.